02 Nov 2020
I've taken a lot of photos of Royal York Crescent over the years. This time I walked right to the dead-end bit at the far west corner and found a plaque to the Empress of the French. Call me hard to impress, but among the scientists, novelists, architects and artists whose plaques litter the rest of the area, that seems quite minor claim to fame.
And in between times were the Napoleonic Wars, which probably explains the desire for a barracks.
09 Nov 2020
I like The Paragon as a terrace, especially the bowed porches. On the other side of the road, a house attic has a stone lion surrounded by rocaille leaves, according to its listing.
I also love the detail of the arrows in the wrought iron of The Mall's balconies. Today I discovered Westfield place, a road I'd never encountered that runs up to the rear of the Coronation Tap. (It's a famous local cider pub, but I've only been in a couple of times. I'm more of a beer man.)
I'm not entirely clear how a Bristolian called Marjorie Watson-Williams ends up moving to Paris, changing her name to Paule Vézelay, and becoming a famous painter of the abstract school, but it must have been quite a fun ride, surely...
She returned to Bristol when war broke out and apparently spent the first few years in Rodney Place.
Not my cup of tea.
10 Nov 2020
I went to grab a coffee from Imagine That's little horsebox by the marina, completely forgetting that they don't open on Monday or Tuesday. On the plus side, on the way back I was in time to watch the Plimsoll Bridge swinging for a tidy little yacht.
12 Nov 2020
My goal is walk down every public road within a mile of me; sometimes it's not easy to tell what's public. I've passed the turning for Cornwallis Grove a thousand times, but never had a reason to venture down it, and although the street signs at the end seem to be council-deployed and I didn't spot any "private" signs, it's a gated road and definitely feels private.
Gathering all the white middle-class privilege I could muster, I wandered down and was rewarded with the sight of a Victorian pump, a statue of Jesus, and from the end of the road, a view of a private garden that once belonged to a private girls' school.
The Cornwallis House history page says:
In the early 20th century the house, together with Grove House, became a Catholic school, St Joseph’s High School for Girls. The Congregation of La Retraite took over the school in 1924, with the nuns living in Grove House while the schoolrooms were in Cornwallis House. The headmistress was Mother St Paul de la Croix (Sister Paula Yerby). By the 1970s La Retraite High School had around 700 pupils.
It closed in 1982 and the building was bought by Pearce Homes Ltd (now part of Crest Nicholson) who developed it into 21 flats. Grove House next door was bought by the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, and was later converted into flats in 2007.
21 Nov 2020
A rather more wide-ranging weekend wander with Sarah and Vik, taking in some mock Tudor bits of Bedmo (I should note that I've subsequently been corrected to "Bemmie", but I'm an outsider and have been calling it "Bedmo" for short for decades...), a chunk of Ashton, a path up Rownham Hill called Dead Badger's Bottom(!), The Ashton Court estate, a bit of the UWE campus at Bower Ashton, and some of the Festival Way path.
It used to be a garage. My friends Sarah and Vik tell me that it was a much, much grander building before succumbing to modernisation, at which point only a couple of details like this were preserved.
21 Nov 2020
A trip up the hill to get my winter flu jab. I'm not sure I really needed it this year, what with avoiding Covid—I haven't had so much as a sniffle in more than a year—but seeing as they offered... Instead of the doctor's surgery on Pembroke Road, they'd taken over Christ Church, presumably to give more room and ventilation for the necessary social distancing at the moment. As usual, it was their typically efficient operation, and I was in and out in about three minutes.
On the way there and back I snapped as much as I could, but I wanted to be home in time for the first online Times Crossword Championship. As it turned out, I needn't have bothered, as the technology at the Times couldn't keep up with the demand from competitors, and their system just collapsed under the weight of page-views. They tried again the day after, and it collapsed just as badly. Maybe next year...
This wander is split into two parts, as I turned my tech off to go into Christ Church for my jab. The walk home can be found over here.
26 Nov 2020
I took the day off my day job to do my accounts—or at least do enough bookkeeping to send them to my accountant. I hate doing the books. I woke up late, tired and with a headache and decided to bunk off for a walk around Cliftonwood, Clifton Village and Clifton instead, taking in a couple of good coffees along the way. Thanks, Foliage Café, and Twelve for the flat whites.
Another place that wasn't there in Fanny Burney's time—Evelina visits the Hot Well and Pump Rooms, but this would have been the original building down on the bank of the Avon below, long before the upper pump room or the funicular railway from here, next to the Avon Gorge hotel, that linked to the Portway below, existed.
In the novel Evelina in fact stayed in Hotwells, from what I can work out, rather than Clifton, as getting from Clifton to the Hot Well itself every day would have been too much travelling at the time.
27 Nov 2020
I took an extra-long break at lunchtime today as I'd taken the day off my normal day-job to do the accounts for my previous side-job, which is still generating paperwork, though not much in the way of money. This took me through some undiscovered bits of Cliftonwood, including Worlds End Lane, which unexpectedly leads to White Hart Steps. That's certainly not where I expected the end of the world to lead to...